Parents face £120 fines if their child is late for school – the new rules that could cost you explained

 

Children who can’t get to school on time could cost their parents big under new rules coming into force

If your child is late for school just 10 times in three months you could be slapped with a £120 fine under new rules.

That’s a massive crackdown on the old rules, that allowed double the number of late marks over a 12 week period before schools could take action.

“Previously a pupil had to achieve 20 unauthorised late marks before a penalty-notice warning could be issued,” explained a letter sent out to parents in Staffordshire, by the council’s head of education, Paul Senior.

“This has now changed to 10 marks and late marks do not have to be one after the other for the penalty notice to be issued.

“You are therefore encouraged where possible to ensure your child attends school on time. However, if your child is late you must inform the school of the reason why as they may be able to offer you some form of advice or support.”

The letter, seen by the Stoke Sentinel , goes on to explain how you could end up in trouble.

“If your child is late 10 times over a 12-week period you may receive a penalty-warning notice and also potentially a fine,” it reads.

“These changes have been agreed with headteachers and implemented to help promote and support good attendance to school.”

The penalty for persistent lateness is £60 if paid within 21 days, increasing to £120 if paid within 28 days.

If you don’t pay the fine after 28 days you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school – with a maximum fine of £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months. You would also get a Parenting Order.

Lateness isn’t the only thing you can be fined for

The council letter adds that that parents also face being fined for unauthorised leave from January 1.

“Your headteacher will continue to be the only person able to authorise leave in term time, but this will apply only in exceptional circumstances. Any unauthorised absence will be referred by your headteacher to the local authority,” it reads.

You can get permission if:

  • you make an application to the head teacher in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with)
  • there are exceptional circumstances

However, it’s up to the head teacher how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted – and a fine can be issued if you break these rules.

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